Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

GRIFFIN v. THOMAS

October 24, 1989

ALICE L. GRIFFIN, Plaintiff,
v.
EDDIE THOMAS JR., et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHADUR

 MILTON I. SHADUR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 Facts1

 At all times relevant to this action Griffin worked at the May School as a Board employee. During the same period Thomas was the principal at May School and was Griffin's direct line supervisor. For the 1984-85 school year and for 14 of the 16 prior years, Griffin had received a "superior" performance rating, the highest rating available to Board employees.

 In March 1986 Griffin was injured in the course of her duties. That injury caused her to miss work for more than two months and also occasioned her filing of a workers' compensation claim with the Illinois Industrial Commission. At the end of the 1985-86 school year (after the filing of that claim), Thomas gave Griffin a reduction in her performance rating from "superior" to "excellent." Disappointed with the reduction in her rating, Griffin filed a grievance through the Chicago Teachers Union ("Union"). After having responded to the grievance, Thomas restored her "superior" rating in September 1986.

 Within 24 hours of the time that Thomas was required to rescind the "excellent" evaluation, he reassigned Griffin to the position of classroom teaching assistant principal (in all prior years Griffin had served as an assistant principal without classroom responsibilities). In addition to that reassignment, Griffin claims Thomas harassed her in several other ways in retaliation for her having filed the grievance with Union. Because the parties' dispute as to the present motion for summary judgment involves only legal issues, there is no need for further detail as to Thomas' alleged retaliatory actions.

 Freedom of Association

 Defendants move for summary judgment on the sole ground that Griffin's conduct does not relate to a matter of public concern and therefore is not protected by the First Amendment. *fn2" To that end they rely on the basic principle articulated in Connick v. Myers, 461 U.S. 138, 146, 75 L. Ed. 2d 708, 103 S. Ct. 1684 (1982):

 
When employee expression cannot fairly be considered as relating to any matter of political, social, or other concern to the community, government officials should enjoy wide latitude in managing their offices, without intrusive oversight by the judiciary in the name of the First Amendment.

 Indeed Connick, id. at 146-47 teaches that unless the allegedly protected speech or conduct can be characterized as touching on a matter of public concern, it is unnecessary for the courts to scrutinize the reasons for the employer's adverse conduct.

 Griffin offers a two-tiered response to defendants' argument:

 
1. Because she bases her claim on the right to association, and not the right to free speech or to petition the government, she need not make the initial Connick showing of public concern.
 
2. Independently of that contention, her grievance in fact touched on matters of public concern, so that she can invoke the First Amendment -- thus implicating a legal standard as to whose application ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.